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This article is about the television network. For the mother company, see ABS-CBN Corporation.
Type Broadcast commercial television network
Branding The Kapamilya Network (Kapamilya is a Tagalog term for "a member of the family")
Country Philippines
First air date
October 23, 1953
Availability National
Slogan In the Service of the Filipino Worldwide.
42% (June and July 2012, Total Philippines: Urban+Rural Households)[1][2]
Owner ABS-CBN Corporation
Key people
Eugenio Lopez III (Chairman)
Charo Santos-Concio (President, and CEO)
Cory Vidanes (Head, Channel 2)
Launch date
23 October 1953
Former names
Picture format
480i (SDTV)
Sister channels
ABS-CBN Sports+Action
Callsigns ABS-CBN
Callsign meaning
Official website

ABS-CBN (Alto Broadcasting System - Chronicle Broadcasting Network) is a major commercial television network in the Philippines. It is the oldest and the leading television network in the country[3][4][5] with an advertising revenue of 19 billion for the fiscal year 2012.[6] It is a unit of the media conglomerate ABS-CBN Corporation. It was launched on 23 October 1953 under the name Alto Broadcasting System, and is among the first commercial television networks in Asia. Its headquarters are in Quezon City with regional offices and news bureaus in over 25 provincial areas throughout the country.

The flagship television station of ABS-CBN in Metro Manila is DWWX-TV (VHF channel 2) while provincially, the network operates through its Regional Network Group of 71 television stations (consisting of 25 originating stations, 38[7] relay stations and 8 affiliate television stations). Its programming is also available outside the Philippines as The Filipino Channel.


Scene from "What every Woman Knows," on Family Theater of Fr. Patrick Peyton, CSC, a live stage drama aired on ABS-CBN in the Philippines in 1962. Center is Jaime Zobel de Ayala, who acted in his younger years and later became chairman of the Philippines' largest real estate company, Ayala Land.

ABS-CBN traces its history to the first Philippine television station DZAQ-TV, owned by Bolinao Electronics Corporation which was later renamed Alto Broadcasting System.

James Lindenberg, owner of BEC, was the first to apply for a license to the Philippine Congress to establish a television station in 1949. His request was granted on 14 June 1950. Because of the strict import controls and the lack of raw materials needed to open a TV station in the Philippines during the mid-20th century, Lindenberg branched to radio broadcasting instead.[8]

Judge Antonio Quirino, brother of former President Elpidio Quirino, also tried to apply for a license to Congress, but was denied. He later purchased stocks from BEC and subsequently gained the controlling stock to rename the company from BEC to Alto Broadcasting System (ABS).

DZAQ-TV began commercial television operations on 23 October 1953; the first fully licensed commercial television station in the Philippines. The first program to air was a garden party at the Quirino residence in Sitio Alto, San Juan. After the premiere telecast, the station followed a four-hour-a-day schedule, from six to ten in the evening.[8]

In 1955, Manila Chronicle owner Eugenio Lopez, Sr. and former Vice President Fernando Lopez, acquired a radio-TV franchise from the Congress and immediately established Chronicle Broadcasting Network (CBN) in 1956. On 24 February 1957 Lopez invited Judge Quirino to his house for breakfast and ABS was bought under a contract written on a table napkin. The corporate name was reverted to Bolinao Electronics Corporation immediately after the purchase of ABS.[8]

With the establishment of DZXL-TV 9 of CBN in 1956, the Lopez brothers controlled both television channels in the archipelago, culminating in the first wave of expansion. The monopoly in television was broken in 1961, when DZBB-TV 7 was established by the Republic Broadcasting System (now GMA Network, Inc.) (RBS), owned by Robert Stewart, on the same year it launched the nation's first regional and provincial television station in Cebu City on 24 July.[8]

In 1967, the company was renamed ABS–CBN Broadcasting Corporation. This company became the formal merger of the two stations DZAQ-TV 3 (ABS) and DZXL-TV 9 (CBN).

In 1966, ABS-CBN became the first TV network to broadcast certain shows in color and by 18 December 1968, ABS-CBN opened its present day Broadcast Center complex in Bohol Avenue, Quezon City. It was among the most advanced broadcasting facility of its kind in Asia. Full color broadcasts began in 1971 on ABS-CBN 2 with the availability of more color television sets around Manila and neighboring municipalities and cities.[8]

In 1969, DZAQ-TV transferred to channel 2, while its sister station DZXL-TV transferred to channel 4. This was in response to frequency adjustments, giving room for the television station of the Kanlaon Broadcasting System (now Radio Philippines Network) to occupy the Channel 9 frequency.

An ABS-CBN news van in front of the Office of the Ombudsman building.

When then President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972, the station was forced to shut down. The company was seized from the Lopez brothers and its newly built Broadcast Center became the home of state-run TV stations Banahaw Broadcasting Corporation (BBC Channel 2, with call sign changed to DWWX-TV), Government Television (GTV Channel 4, with call sign changed to DWGT-TV and later renamed MBS-4), Kanlaon Broadcasting System (KBS Channel 9) and Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC Channel 13).[8]

The long hibernation of the station ended on February 1986. As the EDSA revolt broke out in the eighties, and Marcos' grip on power debilitated, the reformists in the military contended the broadcasting network would be a vital asset for victory. Thus, at 10 AM on February 24, they attacked and took the ABS-CBN Broadcast Center that was then the home of MBS-4.[8]

When Marcos was deposed, the network was sequestered and returned Channel 2 to the Lopezes but not Channel 4. On 14 September 1986, ABS-CBN went back on the air, broadcasting from what used to be their main garage at Broadcast Center in the pre-Martial Law days. The network was forced to share space in the building that was rightfully their own with the government TV station Channel 4. At the time, money had been scarce while resources were limited; offices were used as dressing rooms and other equipment such as chairs, tables, and phones were in short supply.[8]

In late 1986, the network was faltering, ranking last among the five stations in the Philippines and was suffering heavy losses. Eugenio "Geny" Lopez Jr. by early 1987 brought in programming whiz and ABS-CBN veteran Freddie Garcia, then working for GMA Network, and set him loose to work his magic touch.

Six months later on 1 March 1987, Channel 2 was relaunched with the live musical special, "The Star Network: Ang Pagbabalik Ng Bituin" (The Return of the Star). In 1988, ABS-CBN was topping the Mega Manila ratings, a position it had never relinquished for 16 years.

Later that year, the station launched nationwide domestic satellite programming and by 1994, expanded its operations worldwide. In 1999, Channel 2 launched its 120-kilowatt Millennium Transmitter, resulting in improved signal quality throughout Mega Manila.

In 2005, ABS-CBN re-upgraded its transmitter into a very high capacity of 346.2 kilowatts resulting on a much clearer signal in Metro Manila.

During the historic 2010 Philippine presidential election, in response to the first automation of the election in the country, ABS-CBN utilized a technology from Orad Hi Tech Systems Ltd. that utilizes the principles of augmented reality.[9] The technology uses real-time image processing system for live broadcasts of 3D computer-generated imagery against a real set or background. ABS-CBN also utilized what is probably the biggest touch screen display to be used in a Philippine television show. A new set dubbed as the "WAR" (Wireless Audience Response) room was specifically designed for the said election coverage.[10] The coverage of ABS-CBN became the third top trending topic worldwide on the social networking site Twitter.[11][12]

Regional Network Group[edit]

ABS-CBN logo (January 1, 2000 - December 31, 2013)

The Regional Network Group (RNG) is the provincial network subsidiary of ABS-CBN. It is responsible for simultaneously airing most of the shows seen on ABS-CBN's flagship station in the provinces. The Regional Network Group has several stations in each region outside Mega Manila to ensure nationwide coverage. The local stations also produce their own newscasts which air prior to TV Patrol and other local programming which air on Sundays. Regional Network Group (RNG) glorified its roots while reaching out wider audience in 2007, consistently building on local content and developing infrastructure to deliver better service and cement its position as the top-rating regional network in the country. Regional versions of favorite TV shows were created, enabling ABS-CBN to reach out and connect with wider audiences worldwide. The launch of the local game show Kapamilya Winner Ka! in Visayas and Mindanao. Gandang Umaga, Pilipinas in Northern Luzon, and the 17th local TV Patrol in Southern Tagalog (Region IV-A & IV-B), provided more relevance to regional audiences. On 29 January 2011, Charie Villa was appointed as the new head of RNG.[13] On 15 April 2011, RNG launched ChoosePhilippines, a new website aimed to promote tourism in the Philippines by sharing photos and stories of the most extravagant places, culture, and arts of the Philippine island.[14]


Most of the program line-up of ABS-CBN are originally produced by the company's television production unit. These include programs ranging from musical and variety shows, reality shows, game shows, entertainment and lifestyle talk shows, sitcoms, and gag shows. Soap operas and drama anthologies on the other hand are produced under Star Creatives and Dreamscape Entertainment Television, while news, documentaries and public affairs programs are produced by ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs and other independent production outfit while licensed franchises from abroad are co-produced by the licensee. Some 15 percent of the program line-up of ABS-CBN though are imported from abroad, including animation series from Japan, and television series from Taiwan. ABS-CBN also airs special events like Oscars, Miss Universe, Binibining Pilipinas, Miss Earth, Miss Philippines Earth, NFL, Top-Rank boxing, and other sports and awarding events.

Digital transition[edit]

Digital terrestrial television[edit]

ABS-CBN Corporation initially applied for a license from the National Telecommunications Commission to operate a digital terrestrial television service in the country back in 2007.[15] ABS-CBN planned to utilize multiplex to offer ABS-CBN, ABS-CBN Sports+Action and 5 additional specialty TV channels. The conglomerate is expected to spend at least 1 billion pesos annually for the next 5 years for its DTT transition.[16] ABS-CBN utilized UHF channel 51 Manila (692–698 MHz), later UHF Channel 43, for test broadcasts in the DVB-T format. ABS-CBN was expected to begin digital test broadcasts in January 2009.[15][17]

In June 2010, the NTC announced that it would formally adopt the Japanese standard ISDB-T for digital broadcasting and issued a circular commanding all the country's television networks to switch-off their analog services on 31 December 2015 at 11:59 p.m. Philippine Standard Time (UTC+8).[18]

In April 2011, the conglomerate announced further details about its DTT plans, which would offer ABS-CBN and Studio 23(currently ABS-CBN Sports+Action). In addition, five new channels which will be exclusively available to its digital users will be offered once the digital broadcast start. The specialty TV channel line-up include one news channel (DZMM TeleRadyo), two youth-oriented channels (Yey!, Myx 2), an educational channel (Knowledge Channel), and a movie channel (Cine Mo!). The conglomerate is also planning to utilize the 1seg (one segment) broadcast standard for handheld devices.[19][20][21][22]

High-definition television[edit]

On 19 April 2009, ABS-CBN acquired 24 units of Sony HDC-1400R high-definition professional camcorders in preparation for high definition production.[23] In July 2009, ABS-CBN Sports produced the first domestic high definition telecast; the coverage of the UAAP Season 72 basketball game which was shown on its sports channel Balls.[24][25] In addition, two of its three Eurocopter AS355 news chopper are capable of transmitting high-definition live feeds from its 5 axis gimbal HD camera mounted on the nose of the aircraft.[26]

On 20 April 2010, Ikegami Tsushinki Co., Ltd., a Japanese manufacturer of professional and broadcast television equipment announced the acquisition of ABS-CBN Corporation of 75 units of Ikegami GFCAM HDS-V10 tapeless Flash RAM HD camcorders. The cameras will be deployed to all of its regional stations across the country, including its headquarters in Quezon City.[27]


In 2007, the conglomerate acquired a tapeless technology from EVS, the first media company in Southeast Asia to do so.[25] The technology provided the network a non-linear and digital post production workflow as well as wireless access on remote areas via media access management system. The EVS technologies will be integrated to equipments acquired from Avid Technology[28][29] and Ruckus Wireless.[30]

Digital archiving[edit]

ABS-CBN Corporation started digitizing its content in 2004.[31] In 2007, the conglomerate invested 4 million dollars for a Media Asset Management System (MAMS) from IBM Corporation that includes a hardware infrastructure support and a 2 petabytes (2000 terabytes) of digital storage that is expected to grow by 36% over the years as ABS-CBN is already generating over 700 hours of content a month.[32] The MAMS will be integrated to the million dollar Dalet Digital Media Systems[33] and Avid Unity ISIS (Infinitely Scalable Intelligent Storage)[31] that will enable ABS-CBN to digitize and store its over 200,000 hours of television content and its library of over 2000 films.[34] The Big Dipper Digital Content & Design, Inc. is the subsidiary that oversees all of its digital assets.


Since its inception in 1953 until 1961, ABS-CBN (then Alto Broadcasting System) was the only commercial television network in the country. It was only until the 1960s that television became common and at that time, although audience measurement has not yet invented, ABS was favored by giant companies like Procter and Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Caltex. When the martial law was declared, ABS-CBN and other television networks were forced to shut-down and held control by the Government. When it was re-established in 1986 as a commercial television, it had failed to regain its glory days and was ranked behind among the five television networks. It was not until 1987, when it was re-branded as "The Star Network" that it had slowly regained its foothold in TV ratings. In 1992, AGB Nielsen Philippines was founded and a new pace in television history was introduced. In 2007, TNS Philippines started to offer media research through Kantar Media Philippines (formerly Kantar/TNS). In 2008, AGB Nielsen Philippines released the all-time highest rating shows in the Philippines, with 7 of the top 10 highest rating shows all from ABS-CBN with the shows like The Battle: Pacquiao vs. Morales, Rosalinda, Esperanza, Princess Sarah, Miss Universe 1997, Pangako sa 'Yo, and Maria Mercedes.[35] At the turn of the first decade of the century, competition was up against its closest competitor GMA Network and TV5. Moreover, the data released by AGB Nielsen show the Mega Manila data, which favors GMA in the Mega Manila ratings while Kantar Media releases the Total Philippines ratings (National Urban and Rural Households), which favors ABS-CBN.

Controversies and scandals[edit]

In recent years, ABS-CBN has been involved in several controversies and scandals involving its subsidiaries and programming.

Wowowee scandals and incidents[edit]

Two major incidents involving ABS-CBN have involved the networks' variety show Wowowee. Demand for tickets to a one-year anniversary episode of the show at the PhilSports Arena in 2006 caused a deadly stampede killing 76 people.[36] Over a year later in August 2007, the show became entrenched in another scandal involving the possibility of a new game on the show being rigged as evident by a "mechanical glitch" which occurred during an episode,[37] which grew greater after Eat Bulaga! host Joey de Leon and Wowowee host Willie Revillame started exchanging attacks on-air against each other during their respective and competing shows.[38] The incident later lead to a probe by the Department of Trade and Industry led by senator Mar Roxas (which was jokingly suggested by Joey during a speech he made on Eat Bulaga! in reference to the Hello Garci scandal, dubbing it "Hello Pappy")[39]

Nielsen TV ratings scandal[edit]

In late 2007, ABS-CBN accused AGB Nielsen Philippines of tampering with the ratings during their 2007 ratings surveys.[40][41] On 8 January 2008, Quezon City regional trial court (RTC) junked ABS-CBN's case against AGB Nielsen saying it was prematurely filed.

Writ of Amparo[edit]

On 22 January 2008, Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) supported the petition for writ of amparo filed by the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation's 11 employees (led by Ces Oreña-Drilon) with the Supreme Court to rule on the legality of journalists' arrests concerning the failed Manila Peninsula rebellion. It stated: "We support employees from ABS-CBN in standing up for their democratic rights to work free from harassment and intimidation, especially from government officials and authorities." Meanwhile the Supreme Court required the respondents to file comment to the amparo petition within 10 days. Further, Harry Roque, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)'s lawyer announced its filing of a class lawsuit for injunction with damages (Article 33, New Civil Code of the Philippines) against the Philippine National Police, among others.


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  2. ^ "ABS-CBN rules daytime and primetime TV ratings nationwide in July". ABS-CBN Corporate Communications. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Tuazon, Ramon (16 June 2013). "Philippine Television: That's Entertainment". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. 
  4. ^ Lucas, Daxim (23 June 2012). "TV5 losses double to P4.1B in 2011". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 
  5. ^ Rimando, Lala (1 March 2012). "MVP says he's still interested in GMA-7". Rappler. 
  6. ^ Villanueva, Paul Michael (21 March 2013). "2012 Financial & Operating Results". Philippine Stock Exchange (Press release). 
  7. ^ Cerrado, Aldrin (5 June 2013). "ABS-CBN Corporation Amended 2012 SEC Form 17-A". Philippine Stock Exchange (Press release). 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Anastacio, Ellen Joy; Badiola, Janine Natalie (1 January 2010). "The History of Philippine Television". UP-CMC Broadcast Department. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  9. ^ Sanchez, Rowena Joy (14 May 2010). "TV networks war over holograms and virtual presence". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 2 July 2012. 
  10. ^ Almo, Nerisa (8 May 2010). "ABS-CBN encourages Filipinos to be citizen journalists". Philippine Entertainment Portal. Retrieved 2 July 2012. 
  11. ^ Chui, Angie (27 May 2010). "ABS-CBN, partners make milestone in poll coverage". The Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  12. ^ "ANC taps social media halalan 2010". ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs. 10 May 2010. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  13. ^ Jarloc, Glaiza, Charie Villa leads ABS-CBN's Regional Network Group, Sun.Star Cebu, retrieved 29 January 2011 
  14. ^ ABS-CBN Regional Network Group launches Choose Philippines site, ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs, retrieved 16 April 2011 
  15. ^ a b "ABS-CBN to launch digital TV". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  16. ^ Galicia, Loui (September 2007). "ABS-CBN continues preparation for digital TV". ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs. Retrieved 2007-09-22. [dead link]
  17. ^ "ABS-CBN unit to roll out digital TV-based teaching". Business Mirror. 2010-08-25. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  18. ^ "Business - NTC chooses Japan digital TV standard for RP - INQUIRER.net". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 2010-06-09. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  19. ^ Rommel Pedrealba (director) (2011). ANC Future Perfect: TV Goes Digital 2/5 (Television production). Philippines: ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs. 
  20. ^ Rommel Pedrealba (director) (2011). ANC Future Perfect: TV Goes Digital 3/5 (Television production). Philippines: ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs. 
  21. ^ "ABS-CBN to launch 5 new premium channels on free-to-air TV". Lopez Group of Companies. 2011-04-04. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  22. ^ Exclusive: The ABS-CBN Digital TV retrieved October 18, 2013
  23. ^ ABS-CBN Philippines launches High Definition with Sony HDC-1400 High Definition Portable Studio Cameras, Sony Corporation, retrieved 20 March 2012 
  24. ^ "ABS-CBN airs UAAP on high-definition". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  25. ^ a b "ABS-CBN Chooses EVS Tapeless Solutions for Studio and OB Facilities". Wam Pacific, Inc. 4 August 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  26. ^ Presenter: Tony Velasques (2010). "Future Perfect: ABS-CBN's Broadcast Technology in a Digital Age". ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs. ABS-CBN. ABS-CBN News Channel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDYlQv_gFF4. 
  27. ^ "GLOBAL TELEVISION NETWORK ABS-CBN PURCHASES 75 IKEGAMI GFCAM™ HDS-V10 TAPELESS HD FLASH RAM CAMCORDERS" (Press release). Ikegami Tsushinki. 20 April 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  28. ^ ABS-CBN Goes Tapeless, retrieved 23 April 2008 
  29. ^ "ABS-CBN launches HD broadcasts with multiformat switchers". Archived from the original on 31 October 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2009. 
  30. ^ "Largest Entertainment and Media Company in Philippines Moves to Smart Wi-Fi From Ruckus Wireless". PR Newswire Association LLC. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  31. ^ a b "Creation". APB (Softpressmedia.com): 16–17. December 2010. 
  32. ^ "IBM Philippines Bolsters ABS-CBN's Digital Content Management" (Press release). IBM Corporation. 11 April 2008. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  33. ^ Dolan, Janice (17 June 2008). "Dalet Inks 1.2 Million dollar Media Asset Management and Digital Archive Deal With ABS-CBN". Zazil Media Group. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  34. ^ Casiraya, Lawrence (6 March 2008). "ABS-CBN taps IBM to store digital video archives". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  35. ^ Nathan (17 March 2008). "30 All-Time Highest-rated Philippine TV shows based from the overnight ratings tabulation of AGB Nielsen Philippines in Mega Manila as of February 2008". Kwuaderno. Retrieved 1 July 2012. 
  36. ^ "73 dead in stampede at Philippine game show". ABC News. 4 February 2006. 
  37. ^ "ABS-CBN: No cheating in Wowowee's 'Wilyonaryo'". GMA News and Current Affairs. 30 August 2007. Retrieved 10 April 2009. 
  38. ^ "Joey tells Willie: Explain before you Complain". GMA News and Public Affairs. 30 August 2007. Retrieved 11 April 2009. 
  39. ^ "Roxas seeks probe on 'Hello, Pappy' game show 'scam'". GMA News and Current Affairs. 30 August 2007. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 3 November 2007. 
  40. ^ "GMA 7 tagged in scandal". manilatimes.net. 2007-12-20. 
  41. ^ Godinez, Bong (20 December 2007). "Quezon City court issues TRO against AGB Nielsen". Retrieved 7 April 2012. 

External links[edit]